Finding Solutions for Eczema

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Alternative Treatments When It Feels Like Eczema Is Limiting You

  • woman-with-eyes-closed-in-meditation-class
    Exploring Alternative Treatments for Eczema
    Chronic skin conditions like eczema can be difficult to manage. If you live with eczema, you may be frustrated with your current treatment plan, especially if it doesn’t seem like anything is working to help ease dry, itching skin. Usually, eczema treatment involves prescription creams or medications—but in addition to these therapies, alternative medicine may be beneficial for soothing symptoms. Exploring alternative treatments for eczema with your doctor may help you find the relief you’re after.

  • washing lettuce in kitchen
    1. Focus on nutrition.
    Some of the most readily available natural remedies for eczema involve your dietary choices. Whenever possible, try to avoid foods known to increase inflammation inside the body, such as refined foods, sugars, and saturated fats found in meat. Choosing a diet that includes more whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables, and essential fatty acids from fish, nuts, and seeds may be all it takes to help make living with eczema more comfortable.

  • Woman choosing clothes from wardrobe
    2. Try different fabrics.
    It’s widely known that wool fabrics tend to increase skin irritation and itching among those who live with eczema. Instead, try wearing alternative fabrics such as silk or cotton. As research into eczema continues, textiles made with antimicrobial materials, such as silver and zinc, could become a more mainstream option for help managing symptoms. Other types of fabrics, such as those treated with borage oil, could also help improve your skin’s moisture.

  • Close-up of Caucasian woman's hands with vitamin D supplement and glass of water
    3. Vitamin C and D may be key.
    Several over-the-counter vitamins may be beneficial if you experience eczema frustration. Studies show that both vitamin C and vitamin D may help boost your immune system and reduce inflammation, which can help your skin heal faster. One study even showed that vitamin D supplementation improved eczema symptoms in 80% of research participants. Before starting any vitamin, be sure to check with your doctor. In some cases, vitamins interact with prescription medications, making them less effective.

  • Assortment of essential oils with tea tree oil in focus
    4. Plant-based oils may do the trick.
    Plant-based oils may dramatically improve your skin’s health. Some doctors recommend coconut oil, which has been shown to reduce amounts of certain harmful bacteria on the skin, thereby lowering your chance of infection. Sunflower oil can also help, since it helps your skin retain moisture and reduces inflammation. Check with your doctor before trying any oil on your skin. If your doctor approves, you may try applying coconut or sunflower oil to clean, damp skin once or twice a day.

  • Unseen woman meditating outdoors at sunrise or sunset
    5. Use mind-body practices.
    Stress is a big trigger for eczema flare-ups. That’s why it’s important to find ways of managing stress that are quick, easy, and even fun. You may begin a mindfulness meditation practice to help you stay in the moment, achieving clarity and emotional calmness. Other practices, such as yoga, qigong, or tai chi can also help you manage stress. These techniques work by combining breathing with movement to focus your mind and help you relax.

  • Woman receiving massage
    6. Give acupressure or massage a shot.
    While more research is needed, some initial studies show that acupressure or massage can be beneficial for relieving eczema symptoms. Acupressure, which is similar to acupuncture but doesn’t use needles, may help relieve itching by applying pressure to certain points on your body. Massage may be beneficial for preventing the formation of thick, leathery skin patches. And both techniques have been shown to reduce stress, a known trigger for eczema symptoms.

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    7. Wet-wraps may help.
    Keeping your skin moisturized is key to managing eczema symptoms, but it may not be enough to simply use plant-based oils or prescription lotions. Instead, you may want to try wet-wraps. First, apply a moisturizer to your damp skin, followed by a layer of damp cloth or gauze. A dry layer of cloth or gauze is placed over the damp layer, and it stays in place for a few hours or overnight. Wet-wraps may be especially effective for moderate-to-severe eczema.

  • woman in bathrobe filling up bathtub
    8. A dilute bleach bath may bring relief.
    It may seem weird, but bathing with bleach may significantly improve severe eczema symptoms by decreasing the amount of bacteria on your skin. Doctors recommend adding a half cup of household bleach to a 40-gallon bathtub that’s filled with warm water. Then, soak for five to ten minutes and rinse off before you pat your skin dry. Some people also have success using vinegar in place of bleach—try adding a cup of vinegar to your bathtub before soaking. Talk to your doctor before you try either of these methods.

Alternative Treatments for Eczema | Holistic Eczema

About The Author

Sarah Handzel began writing professionally in 2016. She earned a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree and worked as a registered nurse in multiple specialties, including pharmaceuticals, operating room/surgery, endocrinology, and family practice. With over nine years of clinical practice experience, Sarah has worked with clients including Healthgrades, Mayo Clinic, Aha Media Group, Wolters Kluwer, and UVA Cancer Center.
  1. Dermatitis. St. Luke’s Hospital. https://www.stlukes-stl.com/health-content/medicine/33/000048.htm
  2. Dermatitis. Mayo Clinic. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/dermatitis-eczema/symptoms-causes/syc-20352380
  3. Complementary and Alternative Treatments. National Eczema Association. https://nationaleczema.org/eczema/treatment/complementary-and-alternative/
  4. Alternative, Complementary, and Forgotten Remedies for Atopic Dermatitis. Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4518179/
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Last Review Date: 2021 Mar 31
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